Albright: U.S. Policies Divide Allies
By BARRY SCHWEID
The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 20, 2003; 5:09 PM
WASHINGTON - Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright says President Bush's foreign policy has driven away moderate Arab leaders and created the potential for a dangerous rift with European allies.
Albright, writing in the current issue of Foreign Affairs quarterly, criticized Bush as using "the shock of force" rather than relying on alliances in ways that fundamentally depart from more than a half-century of U.S. foreign policy.
Albright, a Democrat who headed the State Department in the Clinton administration, said Bush was rejecting the advice even of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, that the United States should not go it alone in the fight against terrorism "or in anything else, for that matter."
She quoted the son, the current president, as declaring before going to war with Iraq that "at some point we may be the only ones left. That's okay with me. We are America."
Albright said she would applaud Bush's "admirable definition of spine in confronting those who threaten the safety of the American people ... if only those policies were safeguarding U.S. citizens more effectively."
Specifically, she said the Bush administration's decision to shift its focus from opposing the al-Qaida terror network to invading Iraq and threatening military action against others caused popular support for the United States among Europeans to drop sharply.
The ouster of Saddam Hussein in Iraq has made the world a better place, Albright wrote, but it also cut into the support the administration needs to discredit and dismantle al-Qaida.
"The Iraq war and the subsequent U.S. occupation of Baghdad, the capital of Islam during that faith's golden age, have made more difficult the choice Islamic moderates and others around the world must make," Albright said.
Instead of asking them to oppose al-Qaida, Bush also asked for support for the invasion of an Arab country and endorsement of the doctrine of pre-emption, all in one package, she wrote.
Even more remarkable than Arab leaders deciding they did not want to be with the United States even though they opposed al-Qaida, she said, was the reaction among the closest U.S. friends in Europe.
"It was a war of choice, not of necessity," Albright wrote, and "it was initiated by the Washington in a show of dominance prompted by a sense of vulnerability that most Europeans do not fully share."
Albright said differences with Europe can be narrowed. "The American people, with an assist from Secretary of State Colin Powell and other voices of reason, will not let the administration go too far."
Albright said the United States must be relentless in shaping a global consensus that terrorism is always wrong, and there can be no excuses for it.
Reflecting on her experiences as secretary of state, she said she rarely received a satisfactory answer from Arab leaders when she made the point repeatedly.
Most of them would condemn terror unconditionally "except where it was most regularly practiced, namely in and against Israel," Albright said.
"To this day, it remains the majority Arab view that the militarily overmatched Palestinians are justified in fighting Israelis with whatever means they have," Albright wrote.